Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (January 24-30)

This week I read

February 7 - February 28 in the NIV Daily Chronological Bible
Psalms 42-61 in the NASB Wide Margin Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

January Favorites

These are my top three reads of the month:

The Silent Governess. By Julie Klassen. 2010. (January 2010). Bethany House. 448 pages. [Historical Fiction/Romance]
A Lady Like Sarah. By Margaret Brownley. (A Rocky Creek Romance). 2009. Thomas Nelson. 320 pages. [Historical Fiction/Romance]
The Gospel In Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith by Martin Lloyd-Jones. 2009. Crossway. 160 pages. [Christian Nonfiction]

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Why Read

Amy's question this week is very simple: why read?!

I have a problem understanding people who don't read. I just don't get why a person wouldn't want to read. It makes me sad, really. Even though most of the time it's just a matter of choice. People in my life choosing not to read. I don't understand that choice. But then again, it works both ways. I'm sure there are people in my life who can't understand, can't even begin to fathom, why I choose to much.

I find so much joy, so much pleasure, so much satisfaction in books. I love the act of reading, of getting lost in a book, of becoming absorbed in a book, of sinking into another time and place, of living other lives in a way.

I can read to find myself, to see myself. (Anything But Typical comes to mind as does The Blue Castle.)

I can read to learn about others. Amy did mention this, but I think it's very true and worth repeating, reading does make you more empathetic. It makes you be "the other" even if it's only for a few hours. You put yourself in someone else's shoes. It can open your eyes, make you more compassionate, make you more aware of the world, of the people around you. It can make you realize that it's not all about you. That the world is so much bigger than you and your problems.

Reading brings with it so much emotion. It can make you sad or happy. Books can bring laughter or tears. A book can make you grin from ear to ear at times.

When you really connect with a person, a character, a story, it stays with you. Books are friends. Because the characters are very real to you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (January 17-23)

This week I read

January 25 - February 6 in the Daily Bible (NIV) (365 Chronological Readings)
Psalms 1-41 in the NASB Wide Margin Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Benjamin and the Silver Goblet

Benjamin and the Silver Goblet. Jacqueline Jules. Illustrated by Natascia Ugliano. 2009. [March 2009]. Kar-Ben Publishing. 32 pages.

"You always leave me behind," Benjamin grumbled as he watched his brothers load their donkeys. "Let me go to Egypt with you."

Really liked this one. I thought it was a beautiful retelling of a Bible (from the Old Testament, Genesis to be exact) story. In Scriptures, the story comes from Joseph's perspective. We see Joseph seeing his brothers after so many years (a decade or two, I believe.) We see the reunion from his eyes, his perspective. But in this retelling, we see it from the younger brother's eyes. We see it through Benjamin's perspective, the youngest, the beloved. It was an interesting perspective, and I thought it was well done.

I really loved the illustrations by Natascia Ugliano. I thought they were wonderful.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Review: The Moment Between

The Moment Between. Nicole Baart. 2009. [April 2009] Tyndale. 384 pages.

She left the world the same way that she had entered it: swathed in robes of scarlet so red and angry and portentous as to be mistaken for black.

The Moment Between is a novel about broken people, broken people in need of grace. In a way, we are all broken people, we all are people in need of grace. But The Moment Between is an aching novel, a haunting novel, a novel that goes to extremes to show the brokenness, the pain, the angst, the uncomfortableness of life. The story within is dark, but it isn't without hope.

What is it about? It's about a woman, Abigail Bennett, who comes apart, comes undone after her sister, Hailey, commits suicide. Abigail feels responsible, at least partly responsible, for her sister's death. Why couldn't she have been there for her sister more? Why couldn't she listen more? understand more? Why didn't she see the signs? Why didn't her sister reach out to her instead? Why did her sister choose death over family? What was it in her life that made living so unbearable? That made death the only answer? Surely, Abigail could have or should have done something to make a difference, right?

Abigail does feel partly to blame. But she also blames someone else. His name is Tyler. She knows very little about him. She's just pieced together clues here and there from searching her sister's apartment, but she knows he was her sister's last boyfriend. She knows that Hailey was so in love and so happy just days before her death. So what changed? What did Tyler do to her sister? What did he say? What did he do?

Abigail needs to blame someone. And since Tyler has left town, left Florida, she's gone on a desperate search for him. A search that will take her across the border, to Canada. Will she find the answers she needs? Will she find peace? Or will this obsession just lead to more confusion, more anguish?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review: The Gospel In Genesis

The Gospel In Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith by Martin Lloyd-Jones. 2009. Crossway. 160 pages. [Christian Nonfiction]

I call your attention to Genesis 3 in order that we may consider together the essential message of this book that we call the Bible.

The Gospel In Genesis contains never-before-published sermons of the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). This collection of sermons focus on the early chapters of Genesis. In particular it focuses on creation, the fall of man, the flood, the tower of Babel, and the call of Abraham. (Roughly the first twelve chapters of the book of Genesis.) His argument is a simple one, the heart and soul of the gospel is found from the very beginning, it can be found in Genesis 3. Lloyd-Jones argues that Genesis 3 can explain everything about us and our world.

This third chapter of the book of Genesis is absolutely essential to a true understanding of life, the whole of life as it is at this moment for each individual. (79)
What did I love about this one? (And I did love it, by the way!) How accessible it was. It wasn't dry, it wasn't boring. It was real, it was down-to-earth. I felt like I was listening to a man preach, really preach from the Word of God. It wasn't about how many big words he could use, it was about reaching people--real, every day people--right where they are with a message that is ever-relevant. Though many decades have passed since these sermons were originally preached, the message remains timeless.

While I was reading, I felt it was so good. I was tempted to highlight all the wonderful passages that spoke to me. Because it was speaking to me. It was just that good. So I would recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 New To Me Christian Author Challenge

What You Reading Now? is hosting the 2010 New To Me Christian Author reading challenge. Participants are to read twenty books by twenty authors. All of the 'new-to-me' variety.

1. A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley
2. Out with the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill
3. Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
4. The Centurion's Wife. Davis Bunn. Janette Oke.
5. Heart of Stone. Jill Marie Landis
6. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin.
8. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
9. Raised With Christ by Adrian Warnock
10. Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word. By Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach
12. The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington
13. The Last Christian. David Gregory
14. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes.
15. Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After A Fatal Choice. Kristen Jane Anderson. Tricia Goyer.
16. The Sword. Bryan M. Litfin
17. A Hopeful Heart. Kim Vogel Sawyer.
19. Love Finds YOu in Golden, New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley
20. A Tailor Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
21. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
22. Magdalene. Angela Hunt
23. A Morning Like This by Deborah Bedford
25. Touching the Clouds. Bonnie Leon.
26. The Sister Wife. Diane Noble.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (January 10-16)

This week I read

January 15-January 24 in the Daily Bible (NIV) (365 Chronological Readings) (Genesis 34-Exodus something)
Genesis 28 in the 1599 Geneva Bible
finished Nehemiah in the ESV Study Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Picking Books for Book Clubs

Amy is talking about book clubs today,

Today I thought it would be fun if we compiled a list of books that would make good book club books for Christian book clubs. Since this is faith and FICTION Saturday, I'm asking you to keep your answers to works of fiction. The books, however, do not need to be published by a Christian publishing house, but they should have some elements that would make them appealing to Christian book groups to discuss.
A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin probably comes to mind first. This one is set in the twentieth century, around the second world war to be exact, it features four heroines of different ages and backgrounds, who though seemingly different from one another become good friends as they face personal struggles. I think it has a great cast of characters--each one well developed--and I think the story has substance. It's a complex story with heart and soul, and I think it is an accessible one.

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin is another I'd be quick to recommend. Like A Woman's Place, it stars very human characters who are doing the best they can, but are struggling nonetheless. None of the characters are perfect. In this case, the story is about a set of sisters who are immigrating to America at the turn of the twentieth century.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: A Lady Like Sarah

A Lady Like Sarah. By Margaret Brownley. (A Rocky Creek Romance). 2009. Thomas Nelson. 320 pages.

Vultures signaled trouble ahead.

"She's an outlaw. He's a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle."
That's how it's described on the back cover. I must admit I was a little skeptic heading into this one. Would it be 'too western' for me? After all, it is set in the 1870s and it does feature an outlaw or two?! But my worries went away after I began reading.

The book stars the frustrated but good-intentioned preacher, Justin Wells, and the scared-and-somewhat-embittered outlaw, Sarah Prescott. It was not love at first sight.

When he first stumbles across Sarah, she's handcuffed. The U.S. marshal escorting her back to the Texas town of Rocky Creek has been shot and is in very poor condition. Justin not yet knowing that the prisoner is really a she promises the marshal to take "the prisoner" on to Texas, to see justice done, to take a message to the marshal's family. But can he keep his promise after he knows....

After he knows that "the prisoner" is a woman? She may not be dressed as one. She may not act like one, a lady, I mean. But she is woman through and through. And after hearing her side of the story, after hearing about her troubled past, after hearing her declare her innocence and after hearing about the mockery of a trial that condemned her to hang, after he's come to believe can he keep that promise now? When he knows that there is a very good possibility--that she will hang. Can he live with having her her death on his hands?

She stared at the manacles in his hands and wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see an outlaw or someone else--the woman whose heart suddenly yearned to be held by a man? By him? Cheeks aflame, she looked up.
Head lowered, he reached for her hand, but before cuffing her, he hesitated.
She searched his face and he met her gaze. She wanted him to look at her like she had seen her brothers look at other women. But anything would be better than the pity she saw in his eyes.
Look at me, she wanted to cry. Look at me. Without thinking, she threw her arms around his neck. If he was surprised, she couldn't tell. For his lips melted against hers, sending waves of heat down her body. His mouth on hers was both gentle and demanding, sweet and warm, and more than anything, persuasive. She drank in the moment, wishing it would last forever.
Great sand and sagebrush! How come no one ever told her that kissin' a man was even more fun than fightin' a bear? She'd heard tell about this man and woman stuff, but no one ever said it felt this good, felt so completely and utterly right.
The kiss ended far too soon. One hand on her shoulder, he firmly pushed her away. The mouth that moments earlier had been soft and yielding was now hard and unrelenting. No pity showed in his eyes now. Only rejection...and, somehow, that was even worse.
Her senses in turmoil, she didn't know what to think. She wondered if she had only imagined his response, imagined that he welcomed her kiss.
Confused as much by her own actions as his, she stared up at him.
"I'm sorry, Sarah."
She couldn't have felt more humiliated had she been thrown from a horse.
For the longest while, they stared at each other like two wild animals meeting by chance.
"Forgive me," he pleaded. "I can't do this."
Had he thrust a knife in her heart, he couldn't have hurt her more. "Because of who I am?" she lashed out at him. "Because I'm a wanted woman and not fit to wipe your feet?"
He shook his head sadly. "No, Sarah. Because of who I am." (48-49)

Sarah isn't just Sarah. She's Sarah Prescott. Her brothers are "the Prescott brothers." A no-good robbing gang that go about holding up as many "Wells Fargo" wagons as they can. She doesn't like her brothers, but she loves them. She can't forget that she is--like it or not--a Prescott.

Justin Wells knows just a little about being falsely accused, although he doesn't have a criminal record, his rushed exit from Boston, his reassignment to a little Texas town he's never heard of--Rocky Creek--is not particularly of his choosing. He doesn't feel led to minister here. So he's a bit confused as well as to where he belongs and what he wants and needs.

Together can these two come to trust God, in his will? Will justice be served?

A Lady Like Sarah is a compelling story, a historical romance. The pacing was great. I was always wanting more, more, more. I couldn't put it down. It was enjoyable. It was satisfying. It was good.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (January 3-9)

This week I read

January 1 - January 14 in the Daily Bible (NIV) (365 Chronological Readings); Genesis 1-33
Genesis 23-27 in the 1599 Geneva Bible
finished Ezra in the ESV Study Bible
read Nehemiah 1-4 in the ESV Study Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: New Year Resolutions

Today I thought it might be beneficial to talk about our New Year's resolutions. Do you have any New Year's resolutions? Do any of your resolutions pertain to your spiritual disciplines or to your reading life?
I have several goals when it comes to both actually. I am always seeking a better balance, a better fit.

To read the Bible every day. I'm working on several Bibles actually, and while it will not likely be any "one" bible that I finish, I'd like to finish all the books of the Bible this year. A patchwork of translations I suppose! Last year, I believe I ended up with 54 out of the 66. Not bad, certainly way better than the past few years combined. But still just a few short from where I'd liked to have been.

To read more christian nonfiction. I have so many stacks of good-looking (that is books that look like they'll be good) christian nonfiction about my room. But my follow through isn't the best. Not at all. I probably have a dozen started-but-never-finished books already. So my goal is to read more. Now, they don't all have to be long, or thick, or meaty. (By meaty I mean using long words that I haven't a chance of understanding and heavy on the footnotes.) But I'd like to have a diverse read pile by the end of the year.

To read more christian fiction. I did so good last year (for me). I went from having read like ten books the year before (2008) to reading almost fifty give or take a few. Which is a really big accomplishment (for me). But I'd like to keep this up and keep it going. Last year, I think I read in little bursts. I might read six one month and then go a few months without having read anything. So a bit more balance maybe?! I don't know. I'd like to read more new-to-me authors but I never know quite where to start.

To read more children's books with christian content/appeal.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess. By Julie Klassen. 2010. (January 2010). Bethany House. 448 pages.

For years, I could not recall the day without a smoldering coal of remorse burning within me.

Olivia Keene is a young woman with her fair share of regrets and secrets. Fleeing her home, she stumbles into quite a mess (more than one mess actually). She's discovered listening to a conversation she had no business hearing. Lord Bradley--the man on whom she happens to be eavesdropping fears the worse. Miss Keene--if that is indeed her name--may be up to no good. She may be a thief. A spy. At the very least, if released out of his custody, his care, she may go somewhere and tell his secrets, start a scandal. One thing he knows for sure, he doesn't trust her. Why did she have a newspaper clipping about his family in her possession? Why is she in the neighborhood to begin with? Was she really just passing through as she claims? On her way to seek a teaching position in a nearby school?

Both Olivia and Edward (Lord Bradley) have secrets. And secrets can be dangerous. What's a man to do with a woman he doesn't trust? Why hire her to be an under nurse in the nursery. (The children she is tending are not his. They're his nephews and niece.) It helps that he introduces her as mute--unable to speak. (Hence the silent part of the title!) How long will she stay--that is the question. Can he learn to trust her? Can she learn to trust him?

This is the third Julie Klassen novel that I've read. The first being The Lady of Milkweed Manor; the second being The Apothecary's Daughter. I definitely enjoyed this one! Great characters, great story, interesting plot. I love historical fiction and historical romance. I think this will appeal to many.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Christian Historical Fiction Challenge

The goal of this reading challenge is to read twenty-four christian historical fiction novels in 2010. You can read more or less. The host isn't *that* strict. I hope to read about thirty or forty. I *hope*. There is also a Ning for the challenge.

1. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
2. The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson
3. A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley
4. The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
5. Somewhere to Belong. Judith Miller
6. The Country House Courtship. Linore Rose Burkard.
7. Abigail. Jill Eileen Smith.
8. Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
9. The Centurion's Wife. Davis Bunn. Janette Oke.
10. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin.
11. Here Burns My Candle. Liz Curtis Higgs.
13. Heart of Stone. Jill Marie Landis
15. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
16. She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell
17. A Matter of Character. Robin Lee Hatcher
18. A Hopeful Heart. Kim Vogel Sawyer.
19. A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
20. Love Finds YOu in Golden New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley
21. The Sister Wife. Diane Noble.
22. Touching the Clouds. Bonnie Leon.
23. Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
24. Fancy Pants. Cathy Marie Hake.
25. Masquerade by Nancy Moser.
26 Maid to Match. Deeanne Gist.
27. The Vigilante's Bride. Yvonne Harris.
28. Wildflowers of Terezin. Robert Elmer.
29. More Than Words by Judith Miller.
30. In Every Heartbeat. Kim Vogel Sawyer.
31. Love's First Bloom. Delia Parr.
32. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
33. Embers of Love (Striking a Match #1) Tracie Peterson.
34. While We're Far Apart. Lynn Austin.
35. Cottonwood Whispers. Jennifer Erin Valent.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Question of the Week #1

Happy New Year! It's resolution time for some, and anti-resolution time for others! I know not everyone likes making "resolutions" for the new year. Some prefer making goals--short term goals that are measurable and doable. But whether you're making short term goals or long term goals, chances are you've got some idea of what you want--what you would like--for the new year.

So this week's question is what are your goals (be they short term or long term) when it comes to reading the Bible?

I have a few goals. I want to read the Bible every day. I'd like to try to read it twice a day. But that isn't my discipline yet. Right now, I read the Bible at night because it's the time when I have more me-time, less distractions, more energy. (I know the thought of having more energy at night can be an odd one to some folks. But it's true. I'm NOT a morning person.) But I would like to get another dose of the Word in at some point in the day. If I can.

I would like to keep reading in my ESV Study Bible and my 1599 Geneva Bible. But both of those are very-long-term goals. I don't think I'll finish up either bible this year. I would like to maybe try to read The Narrated Bible (The Daily Bible) this year. It is NIV. It is chronological.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: The Apothecary's Daughter

The Apothecary's Daughter. By Julie Klassen. 2009. [January 2009] Bethany House. 416 pages.

I remember it clearly, although it was years ago now. For I remember everything.

I just loved Julie Klassen's first novel, Lady of Milkweed Manor. The Apothecary's Daughter is her second novel. While set around the same time period--Regency England--this second has quite a different feel to it. In a way. Though is it really fair of me to try to compare and contrast every little thing? I don't know.

Did I love The Apothecary's Daughter? Not nearly as much as Lady of Milkweed Manor. But. I still enjoyed it. What is it about? Well, it's about a young woman, Lilly Haswell, the daughter of a village apothecary. She's quite talented--or gifted--with the trade herself. She helps her father out even though that isn't quite the thing. Her brother, Charlie, isn't quite right. Oh, he's lovable enough--kind enough, compassionate enough, but he's a bit on the slow side. So in a way it is up to Lilly to take care of him, to take care of her father, to take care of everybody. But all this putting-others-first doesn't leave all that much time for taking care of herself. She's grown up--at least the past few years--wanting oh-so-much-more out of life. Wanting to have a big, grand adventure. Well, maybe not quite an actual adventure, but one of the heart perhaps?

Is it a romance? Yes and no. It is oh-so-much-more than a romance. As a romance alone I found it slightly disappointing. If that makes sense. (I don't know that it will.) As a romance, Klassen kept me guessing right until the end. There were so many would-be, could-be suitors that could have turned into "the one." I was never quite sure who to cheer for. There were several men actually that caught my eye. But as a romance it was never fully developed.

But as a historical I thought it worked rather well. It was a unique story, a fascinating one. I'd never given much thought to the history of medicine. OF the natural competition that existed between medical doctors and the practicing apothecaries.

So I'd definitely recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (December 27-January 2)

This week I...

finished Matthew in the NASB Bible
read Genesis 17-22 in the 1599 Geneva Bible
read Ezra 1-5 in the ESV Study Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: The Fiddler's Gun

Peterson, A.S. 2009. The Fiddler's Gun. Rabbit Room Press. 293 pages.

The trouble with Phineas Michael Button began the moment she was born.

It continues,

"She had the expected two ears, two eyes, one nose, and dimpled cheeks, but in her father's mind there was a problem. He had twelve children, daughters all, and was convinced that number thirteen would be his long-awaited son. So on the twenty-fifth of September, 1755, when he drew another baby girl from the womb of his long-suffering wife, he declared the discovery of an unacceptable mistake."

Abandoned by her parents, left in an orphanage in Ebenezer, Georgia, Fin, our young heroine has no problem being tough and staying strong. She's needed to be her whole life. But she is not the person the Baab Sisters--especially Hilde--would have her to be. She's not ladylike enough. She's too manly, too strong, too wild in their minds. Maybe a little kitchen duty will do the trick...

At first Fin is angry that she's been thrust into the kitchen, and forced into apprenticing with the orphanage's cook, Bartimaeus. (She's jealous that her best friend, her would-be-could-be husband, Peter, gets the better deal, the better job. He gets apprenticed to a carpenter.) But she soon realizes that this may just be the best thing that ever happened to her. For Bartimaeus --though not a simple man or a perfect man--loves her like she's his own child, his own daughter. He's a man with a past, a history--a dark and tangled mess of a past. But he's a good man, a changed man*.

With increasing hostilities between the colonies and England, it's not an easy time for Fin to come of age. Not with Fin's temperament. Her quick temper leads to...well...a great big dangerous adventure**.

Historical fiction. Action. Adventure. Pirates. Orphans. And a little old war.

What did I enjoy about this one? So very much! I love historical fiction. Usually. And this was no exception. A bit violent at times, yes, but what else would you expect in a sea-adventure filled with pirates?! It was exciting, compelling, hard to put down. It's anything but boring! I cared about Fin from the start. And her companions--especially Jack, Knut, and Tan--became important to me as well. The characters definitely felt human--felt flawed--which is a good thing. I would definitely recommend this one. (Especially if you enjoyed The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.)

The story will conclude in a second book, Fiddler's Green. (I want it now!)

You can order a copy of The Fiddler's Gun book through Rabbit Room Press.

*I will say this part of the story was just awesome for me. Peterson was able to connect the story with George Whitefield. True, it's a very small--very tiny--part of the overall story. But still, it made me happy.
**It probably helped that I love films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Blood, and The Sea Hawk. I think having this background helped me visualize the fighting-at-sea scenes.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Best of 2009

Today I am curious as to what were the top novels you read in 2009 that dealt with faith. While these books don't need to have been published by a Christian publishing house, I'm hoping that the books you list will have grappled with faith in a significant way.

My 5 Favorite Christian Books:

Though Waters Roar. Lynn Austin. 2009. Bethany House. 430 pages.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. (Audio Dramatization) Focus on the Family. 2009.
Fireflies In December by Jennifer Erin Valent. Tyndale. 343 pages.
The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz. 2009. Revell. 412 pages.
Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen. 2007. Bethany House. 412 pages.

Honorable Mentions:

Heart of a Shepherd. Rosanne Parry
Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor
Michal by Jill Eileen Smith
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman
A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman
A Bride in the Bargain by DeeAnne Gist
A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: The Oak Inside the Acorn

The Oak Inside the Acorn. By Max Lucado. Illustrated by George Angelini. 2006. Thomas Nelson Pub. 48 pages. [Christian Picture Book]

The acorn looked at the world around him.

If you like parables, there's a chance you'll enjoy this one. I tend to be more of a skeptic. At times. Things like talking acorns who can see and feel and be scared and worried and all, well, they annoy me more than charm me. I know some people get annoyed by children's books with talking animals, well, I can finally see their point in a way. (Not that this one has animals.) Yes, this is a parable. But even so it feels a bit forced, a bit contrived. A bit too much.

What is this one about? Well, it's about an acorn. When we first meet this acorn he is still attached to his Mama Oak. And he is NOT wanting to leave his mother. She keeps telling him that acorns don't stay acorns. That change is a part of life. That one day (sooner than later) it'll be time for him to leave her, to leave the tree. She tells him (over and over and over) again "Within you is a great oak, Little Acorn. Just be the tree God made you to be." He takes that message with him his whole life as he grows from Little Acorn to Little Oak to Big Oak.

What is Little Acorn's purpose? Well, besides the obvious growing-into-an-oak tree tall and wide? Well, to be a part of the bigger picture, to be a part of a family. He grows to see a little girl grow from child to womanhood.

Maybe you'll like this one. More than I did at any rate.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Review: The Crippled Lamb

The Crippled Lamb. By Max Lucado. Illustrated by Liz Bonham. Thomas Nelson Pub. 1994/9. 32 pages. [Christian Picture Book]

Once upon a time in a sunny valley, there lived a little lamb named Joshua.

Joshua the lamb is sad, sad, sad. Why? Well because he's a crippled lamb. He can't run and play with all the others. His only friend is a cow. A cow named Abigail. After being left behind one day, Joshua is as sad as sad can be, until a young couple and their newborn child show him the Way.

Call me oh-so-silly, but I didn't get that this one was a Christmas story. If I had known, I would have had it read and reviewed in time for Christmas. Oh well, now I know. And truth-be-known, Christmas stories can be enjoyed year-round if they're about, you know, the real reason for the season.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible